The National Billiards Championships, preliminary rounds down to the last two, took place at Celbridge Snooker Club on Sunday, 25th March 2018. A total of 13 players contested the event, which meant that the top three seeded players were awarded byes into the quarter finals.
First round Eliminations were Brendan Devlin (Celbridge) and Tommy Murphy (Straffan) both bowing out after tough matches that went the full distance, John Kehoe (Enniscorthy), Aonghus McAnally (Portmarnock) and Robert McCrum (also Portmarnock), suffering 3-1 defeats respectively.
In the quarter finals the top seed, Aidan Murray (Ivy Rooms) battled his way through to his place in the semi finals in a closely contested match against Lloyd Myers (AOH Cork), taking the game by 3-1 while second seed, Wayne Doyle (Dun Laoghaire) had an even tougher match against Eugene Hughes (Baltinglass) to get to the semi finals, coming back from 2-0 down to take the game 3-2. The other semi finalists were Anthony O’Flaherty (Rathkeale), taking a convincing win against Joe Doheny (Borris-in-Ossory) and multiple National Champion Larry Drennan (Kilkenny Shed) emerging a 3-1 winner over past National and All-Ireland Champion and long-time adversary Phil Martin (Celbridge).
In the first semi final, between Wayne Doyle and Larry Drennan, Wayne had the satisfaction of reversing last season’s result against Larry to claim his place in the final which will be played at the RIBSA National Championships in May. In the other semi final, between Aidan Murray and Anthony O’Flaherty, Aidan quickly established a 2-0 lead, firstly by taking the opening game by a close margin and when he took the second by more than 100 points, it looked like a clean sweep was on the cards. Anthony however, had other ideas, comfortably taking the third game to keep his hopes alive. This seemed to be a wake-up call to Aidan, pushing him to redouble his efforts to finish the match without giving Anthony any opportunity to force a decider.
Congratulations and best of luck to Aidan and Wayne who won through to their places in the Final to be played as part of the RIBSA Finals weekend in May.
As always, our thanks are due to Phil Martin and the staff at Celbridge Snooker Club for the excellent playing conditions and for their help on the day.
Pre-Quarters, best of five 150up
Lloyd Myers (Brk: 55) 150, 149, 150, 150 -v- 121, 150, 81, 67 John Kehoe
Anthony O’Flaherty (Brk: 69) 150, 150, 134, 71, 150 -v- 42, 72, 150, 150, 91 Brendan Devlin
Tommy Murphy 112, 148, 150, 150, 98 -v- 150, 150, 138, 135, 150 Joe Doheny
Phil Martin (Brk: 62, 50) 150, 120, 150, 150 -v- 69, 150, 100, 49 Aonghus McAnally
Robert McCrum 61, 48, 150, 37 -v- 150, 150, 107, 150 Eugene Hughes (Brk: 71, 61)
- Quarters, best of five 150up
Aidan Murray (Brk: 59) 79, 150, 150, 150 -v- 150, 70, 141, 140 Lloyd Myers
Anthony O’Flaherty 150, 150, 150 -v- 102, 130, 140 Joe Doheny
Larry Drennan 150, 121, 150, 150 -v- 120, 150, 146, 134 Phil Martin
Eugene Hughes 150, 150, 148, 148, 103 -v- 132, 95, 150, 150, 150 Wayne Doyle
- Semi-Finals, best of five 150up
Aidan Murray 150, 150, 98, 150 -v- 136, 42, 150, 88 Anthony O’Flaherty
Larry Drennan 87, 93, 142 -v- 150, 150, 150 Wayne Doyle (Brk: 74)
- Final, best of seven 150up, 12th May 2018
Aidan Murray -v- Wayne Doyle